Raiders in the National Volleyball Championships

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The women’s volleyball team faced off against the Towson Tigers in the first round of the National Volleyball Championships, ultimately falling to the Tigers 2 sets to 3. Tied up 2-2 in sets, Towson clinched a one-point victory over Colgate. 

Kate Kelly, Maroon-News Staff

Colgate’s volleyball team faced off in the National Invitational Volleyball Championship on Thursday, November 30, against Towson in the first round. This was a big match for the team, as it determined whether they advanced in the tournament or ended their season. They had an outstanding performance, winning the first two sets, but Towson came back in the end, and won the final three sets, ending the Raiders’ season with a 3-2 victory. This allowed Towson to advance to the next round of the tournament against Syracuse.

Though the Raiders were unable to qualify for the Patriot League Tournament at the end of regular season play, they were excited about the opportunity to compete in the NIVC.

“We are up for an NIVC bid because of how strong of an RPI [rating percentage index] we have. Our non-conference wins along with the big winning streak have put us in a good position for additional postseason play. This would be awesome as this team and seniors deserve more.  We will continue practicing and wait to hear if we clinch a postseason bid,” head coach Ryan Baker said. His prediction came true, as soon after expressing this hope, the Raiders received the bid.

The standout players for the Raiders on Thursday night included Patriot League Rookie of the Year Alli Lowe, a first-year outside hitter, who had a career-high performance of 25 kills. In addition, other key players of the night, junior Katie Stansbury and senior Lauren Sanderson, both tallied double-doubles in the intense five-set battle.

The Raiders had a strong start to the match, with a 7-4 lead early on in the first set. The Towson Tigers, however, fought hard to close the gap and brought the point gap down to one and moved the score to 10-9. The Raiders came right back getting a 6-3 run to bring them to a stronger lead of 16-12. Going back and forth again, Towson brought the score to 18-16, but the Raiders did not surrender their lead and closed the first set with a 25-18 win. This Colgate momentum continued through the second set, as the team got off to an early start with a quick 6-0 lead and sealing the deal with an impressive 25-15 win.

Despite the Raiders’ outstanding performance in the first two sets, Towson refused to let up. They proved their tenacity, coming out ready to battle in the third set. This set went back in forth between leads, but Towson stayed consistent throughout and ended the third set with a 25-19 win.

This third set win propelled Towson with great energy coming into the fourth set. Although Colgate had the lead in the beginning at 5-2, Towson responded to this early lead by going on a 16-7 streak. This put them in the lead at 18-12 and they were able to put away the set with a kill from Olivia Finkel to win 25-21.

Tied at 2-2, both teams were itching for the fifth set victory. Colgate started off the set with a lead, but Towson responded. However, this back-and-forth play continued as Colgate tried to bring the score to a close 11-10. However, Towson was able to win this set and won a match victory as a result.

Junior Peighton McRobie commented on the Raiders’ performance.

 “We played great in the first two sets. It was some of our best volleyball all year. Towson really picked up their blocking game in the third and fourth sets which made it difficult for us to get kills. It was hard to get the momentum back after that,” McRobie said.

Overall, the Raiders have much to be proud of this season. They had some great winning streaks and team play throughout the year. Everyone is excited to start training for next season and preparing to battle again. 

Contact Kate Kelly at [email protected]